During routine nutrition education and counselling sessions I encourage mothers to freely share on non-health issues that are contributing to poor response of their children.
This is one particular case where I took interest to investigate a mother whose child was taking more time longer on program than recommended, exceptionally longer than any other child. It was then that she opened up her disheartening family life. She is a mother of six whose youngest child a beneficiary on program.
“My husband chose alcohol over us, he is always drunk and never home, night after night I am physically and emotionally abused. I toil alone to provide for all household needs and providing enough food for the children is a constant struggle.
This was a hurtful confession from a mother whose child is a beneficiary of the Targeted Supplementary Feeding Program (TSFP) services in Kaborogota, Kyaka II Refugee Settlement.
Raising children single handily is not a very easy task for women, worse if they have to endure abusive relationships.
In order to address the above issue, one of the actions taken was to visit the father of the home for a conferring session. Care was taken not to further destabilize the home but rather used choice words in a way that seemed not to report the woman for disclosing. After two consecutive conferring sessions with the couple, I realized that the couple’s struggles, there was still a little bit of love between them, that needed to be strengthened.
I encouraged the father to be more accountable to his family more and together with the wife increase food production at home for their household members by utilizing the small available land for food production. I told them that having family time with their children especially the one on TSFP, would provide psychosocial support and growth. I tasked the father take part in feeding the child during meal times. He accepted to restrain from excessive alcohol intake which will enable him have more productive time for his family. The husband and wife were thankful for the services KRC provides through its staffs to see their families happier.
Follow up is a very important factor in behavior change. One of the staff at the nutrition department also a resident of the area, visits the family weekly in a way of monitoring and supporting him to change for the better. The team received positive feedback at the end of the four weeks of our follow up.